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I need your help with information on a set of four bottles of whisky I received from a neighbour of mine. He told me he bought them in your neck of the woods in Speyside but he can not remember when as he used to holiday there when he was much younger. They are very smart bottles in a box and called the four seasons produced by Gordon & Macphail, Elgin, Morayshire. I would be delighted if you could help me in any way.
C. Hill, Huddersfield, England

The bottles you have are indeed very nice, North Sound radio in Aberdeen commissioned Timothy Niall-Harris a well known wildlife artist to paint The Four Seasons Of Scotland, he painted a Pheasant, Grouse, Ptarmigan, & Capercallie. 250 sets of the four bottles were filled with malt whisky by Gordon & MacPhail of Elgin in the 1990s. A few sets were sold by Gordon & MacPhail in their Whisky Shop for charity. The rest were used by the radio station to raise money for the charity Cash For Kids. You could expect to pay£160 to £200 if a set was entered into a whisky auction in Scotland.

I wonder if you can help me regarding a bottle of whiskey I have in my home. It is Gibson’s Finest and the label says it was produced in 1976. We are reluctant to open and consume it as we are not whiskey drinkers, (which is probably why it survived so many years in our cabinet). Do you think a collector might buy it and is there a place to sell it?
L. Burritt, Mount Albert, Canada

Gibson’s Whiskey has about 20 per cent of the Canadian market but it is not well known outside Canada, so is not very collectable. However I would keep it for a few more years as in 1996 William Grant & Sons of Glenfiddich and Balvenie fame, acquired the brand so if they decide to market the brand world wide it could become very well known.

I am in possession of a very old bottle of Scotch which we have had in the family for about 40 years since it was found in a loft of a house that used to belong to an elderly lady. The seal still remains intact, I have enclosed a photo. I would love to know roughly how old this bottle is if you could advise further and also a rough value.
Rob Palmer, London, England

You found a very nice old blended malt in the lady’s house. It is Sandy Macdonald, Sandy Mac, Special Whisky, 70 proof, blended & bottled by MacDonald Greenlees Ltd. Distillers Leith Scotland. Pure Malt Distillery Glendullan –Glenlivet, the bottle is green dimpled glass with a clip top. The age would be circa 1930s and value £300 to £350 at auction in Scotland.

I read your Collectors Corner in every edition of Whisky Magazine with the view to starting a whisky collection, I also compile information and prices from the main whisky auctions through the internet. It is with this information I have found there are sometimes big differences in the price of very similar bottles at different auctions. Could you tell me why this would be?
M. Fitzgerald, Jackson, Wyoming, U.S.A.

In my opinion you are doing all the right things in gaining as much information as possible before you start your whisky collection. Your observation of prices at auction are correct. I was at a whisky auction at the beginning of December where two bottles were sold at a huge difference in price and both were near the start of the auction. A Teaninich Manager’s Dram was sold for £50 and another bottle identical to the first one later on in the sale sold for £100. Also a Macallan Decanter was sold for £320 and later an identical decanter was sold for £400. If you ask an auctioneer he will always tell you he will get the seller the best price for a bottle but as you see this does not always happen. Having said this most bottles have a recognised price but at auction there is no guarantee how much a bottle will sell for.

With information on a bottle you might want to sell you will know to put a reserve price on it, And also when buying, bid a fair price for it and don’t get carried away by the auction, as the two buyers did at the auction I attended in December.